I started off my sewing expo weekend with a class called "Back to the Basics of Backfills" taught by Lisa Snipes. Some of the classes were "hands-on" and this was one of them. Gammill hosted one of the sewing studios and had about 15 long arm quilting machines set up for us to use.
If you don't know what a long arm is, you should see their website - their machines are incredible! I always knew I might want a long arm one day but sewing on these machines was like a dream! Downside: the cheapest Gammill is around $9000, yikes.
The woman who taught the class, Lisa Sipes, was also awesome! She has only been quilting and sewing for about 5 years and already she is an award winning quilter. Check out her blog for some BEAUTIFUL work:
The class was all about how to fill open spaces in the quilt but keep it interesting, techniques for doing a few specific types of backfill like pebbles, swirls, etc. After we talked about how to do some of the different back fill patterns, they showed us how to start sewing on the machines and just let us play around :)
After that class, Doreen and I both had a break (we didn't take the same classes) so I ate some canned chicken salad I brought with me to save money and calories while Doreen hunted down some food in the arena. We tried to look at some of the vendors and shops that were up but there were SOO many and I only had an hour break before my next class!
12:30pm - 3:30pm
My next class was with Lisa Sipes again, yay! She was so fun and easy to learn from so I was excited for what she had to teach us next. My afternoon class was on bobbin work. Bobbin work is where you hand-wind some thick, decorative thread onto your machine's bobbin and then you put regular thread in the top thread and do an embroidery design. The crazy part is that instead of seeing your work under the needle, the pretty decorative side is on the back! This class was in the Brother Studio on some Dreamweaver embroidery machines which were pretty neat. They have a huge color touchscreen, these machines are around $5000. After we did the bobbin work design, we turned it into a little pillow cover, see what I made?
The previous class actually ended up getting done really early, around 2:30pm so Doreen and I finally got to wander through some of the vendors. It was so hard not to go crazy shopping. At one point I had convinced myself that I needed to make quilts for the moms for mother's day and had a whole bundle of fabrics and patterns in my arms. Fortunately I put them back before I went too crazy, lol. There were stores selling fabric and notions, custom scissors, fancy chairs, sewing machine desks, cutting systems, rotary cutter mats, patterns for all sorts of sewing, interfacing and stabilizers, and the list goes on...
But I did have a 4pm class so I couldn't spend too much time shopping. My 4pm class was a lecture called the "Creative Business Model" and was just an open forum with advice for small business owners related to pricing, marketing, websites, participating in craft shows, copyrighting patterns and other issues most craft business owners faced. It was pretty interesting and I'll definitely be going back through my notes soon to see what things I need to be working on.
After that class, Doreen and I headed to the main expo stage to watch a drawing - they do a big prize drawing each day but you have to be there to win. They were giving away sewing machines and all sorts of other prizes. I had some salmon cups (similar to the chicken salad i had for lunch) so I had one for dinner again to save calories and cost. I was pretty happy I brought it since I didn't have time to drive anywhere for dinner and all the food at the expo closed at 5pm. After the drawing and my dinner/snack, I headed off to ONE LAST CLASS for the day...
6:00pm - 9:00pm
My last class was back in the brother studio again with a woman named Hope Yoder, learning how to make a zippered purse. Hope had an excellent tutorial with powerpoint slides, written instructions and precisely pre-cut pieces. She worked hard to make sure that most of the students would be able to finish the project in class - which doesn't seem to be the case for a lot of the other classes so I was pretty happy about finishing it. When I signed up for the class, I hadn't yet figured out how to make any bags with zippers so I was excited to learn some new skills. However, since then, I made my alpha phi tote bag and got the zippers pretty much figured out so I didn't learn any new skills. But I had fun and made a new purse! I love the cute curved outside pocket.
As you can imagine, I was totally exhausted after such a long day of sewing. Plus I ended the day with only around 900 calories (on accident) so I had a Zone protein bar to help before I went to bed, with the intent of getting up early Friday morning to go workout before my next day of sewing. More to come on day 2 of the expo soon!